Saturday, March 10, 2007
The People Who Don't Know They're Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It

(via my pal Neaera H.)
Constant rain. Little streams sluicing off the awning, off the cherry tree, off customers' hoods and jackets. A totally saturated Australian Blue Heeler casts a last despairing look inside as its owner leads it back out into the deluge.

What did I do today? Bought books, sold books, vainly tried to corral the piles of new stock that have grown like kudzu on the floor. Paid the natural gas bill. Started writing the lecture-cum-performance-cum-first chapter of the theoretical book on photography that I've been promising for many moons. Sang (By myself, first thing in the morning, lights on, door locked). Collected my VPL holds. Carried boxes of rejects to someone's car. Chatted, informally, with one of my favorite living artists. Read and re-read a paragraph of Lefebvre, which I still don't fully understand. Studied the list of new TSE lows printed in the Saturday Globe and Mail. Felt, momentarily, a sense of loosening, of lifting. Of "dailyness." Of something like life.

(Special thanks to poet and critic Nancy Shaw, for arriving with boxes of books to sell, including -- sweet Jesus! -- The Collected Books of Jack Spicer, and Rock My Religion: Dan Graham, Writings and Art Projects 1965-1990, which I purchased as if from another dealer, titles I had long ago given up any hope of ever seeing anywhere in my travels, let alone arriving across the counter)
Friday, March 09, 2007
Sunset aboard the MV Queen of Oak Bay. Through the forward lounge's big windows, the dim black bulk of Bowen Island's Cape Roger Curtis emerges from the gloom. Far ahead, the winking lights of Passage Island, West Vancouver, and, nine miles distant, the bridge and city, rising as if suspended in dark blue air. Heavy turbulence. The huge vessel shakes and slides in the foaming, steep-sided swells, judders like a loaded 747 on approach to LAX. I'm reading Lefebvre and making notes for a public lecture on emulation and neo-avant-garde, and my pen keeps slipping sideways on the page, adding long gestural slashes to my y's and t's. The lights flicker. Lots of nervous chat in the forward lounge, the bang of the bow against the waves clearly audible from five floors up.

Via the same vendor. "Unbelievably handy, incredibly useful."

Doppelganger, 2007


A dark, ominous version of the Great Northern. Everything in black and white, including the checkboard floor. Cooper turns a corner and starts towards us, moving cautiously, glancing in all directions.

Looking ahead, he sees someone approaching him. He moves closer and realizes it's a version of himself, dressed identically, identical in every detail, but upon closer scrutiny realizes the figure's face is smooth and blank, his eyes gleaming, lifeless and black as ebony, no white cornea visible."
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
To Burnaby, to make a picture called Doppelganger. Prompted by something I saw in the dark on my way to the Mountain View Pub for the Search and Rescue fundraiser a few weeks ago. Bright spring sun, surprising warmth in it, blossoms out. Recent reading: Robert Macfarlane's Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination, the last few pages on the Skytrain, spring sunlight through the high, canted windows, illuminating the profiles across the aisle.
Anodyne Inc.

Special distribution from the North West Company Fund (NWF.UN), dated 23 February 2007, but only recorded today:

600 units x .10/unit = $60.00

Cash balance, $559.84

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Henry Wessel, Santa Barbara, 1977

Wessel's current retrospective at SF MOMA reviewed today by the Times. I admire Wessel for his acute sensitivity to the endlessness of Western light, and for his amazement before nature, which I take in his case to mean even things which were imposed upon it (signs; electrical wires; telephone booths), then visibly changed by that contact. I like the unspecifiable arrangement of birds above, but I love how the observer's pose suggests his mental abstraction from himself in the face of the event. Not "joy before the object" -- Wessel's too American for that, too reserved -- but something close.
Ten degrees celcius, March light edging the trees, birdsong floating down. An unhappy car whooping and booping its way down the hill behind a wrecker. Ten minutes later, a solid and disturbing crunch, the inevitable result of reversing up a one way street. Great dollops of profanity. Fire truck, ambulance, the shush of the rescue crew's push broom shifting remnant metal and broken glass.
Monday, March 05, 2007

Words and music by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

When you get out of the hospital
Will you let me back into your life
I can't stand what you do
I'm in love with your eyes

And when you get out of the dating bar
I'll still be here to get back into your life
Well I can't stand what you do
But I'm in love with your eyes

Dear, I can't stand what you do
Sometimes I can't stand you
It makes me think about me
That I'm involved with you

...but I'm in love with this power that shows through in your eyes

I go to bakeries all day long
There's a lack of sweetness in my life
And there's pain inside
You can see it in my eyes

Dear, there's been pain inside
You can see it in my eyes
It makes me think about me
That I've lost my pride

...but I'm in love with this power that resides in your eyes

Now you live in modern apartments
Now I even got scared once or twice
Last time I walked down your street
There were tears in my eyes

And these streets we all know
They help us cry when we're alone late at night
Don't you love them too?
Is that where you got such eyes?

Dear, I can't stand what you do
Sometimes I can't stand you
It makes me think about me
How I'm involved with you

...but I'm in love with this power that shows through in your eyes

Now your world is beautiful
I'll take the subway to your suburb sometimes
I'll seek out the things that must've been magic to your little girl mind

Now as a little girl you must've been magic
I still get jealous of your old boyfriends sometimes
And when I walk down your street
There'll probably be tears in my eyes

I can't stand what you do
Sometimes I can't stand you
It makes me think about me
That I'm involved with you

...but I'm in love with this power that shows through in your eyes

So, dear, when you get out of the hospital
Will you let me back into your life
I can't stand what you do
But I'm still in love with your eyes

(Updated to reflect Roadrunner's splendid live delivery)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

"From this angle we are looking across to a deadfall--a tangle of weather-whitened old dead branches at the back of the graveyard. It's maybe twenty-five feet from side to side and about nine feet high. At either end are thick tangles of underbrush that look impassible.

AS MAIN TITLES CONCLUDE, THE CAMERA MOVES SLOWLY IN on the deadfall. And as it does, we realize that there is a horrible snarling face in those branches. Is this an accident? Coincidence? Our imagination? Perhaps the audience will wonder."

(From Stephen King's screenplay adaptation of his disturbing and well-written novel, Pet Sematary. Another important source for ghosts.)

Grey spring light on Main Street, door open, breeze curling through. Neil Young on the deck ("Captain Kennedy"), my trademark grey cable turtleneck traded in for the more causal (& perennially unfashionable) blue and orange plaid. Big green buds on the little cherry tree outside. A jet droning overhead in the clouds, engines in reverse, flaps down, the eee-urk! eee-urk! of hydraulics echoing down below. In dailyness. In "mental routines." In the wash basin's green soap, in the razor blade drawn smoothly over the nape of my neck, in the curly black thickets marching north up my shoulder blades. Change for the meter, for laundry. Russell Banks on Kundera as the proponent of a resolutely European "antimodern modernism," a kind of ironic realism (Banks names Broch, Kafka, and Musil as other practicioners of the form; I'd add J.M. Coetzee, Thomas Bernhard, and the Melville who wrote The Confidence-Man, emphasizing Banks' term's utility as an index of a kind of mental, and not purely geographical, origin).

Hey, break it up!

Singapore Fried Rice Vermicelli, please...

Object in a Driveway, 2007

"A pictogram (also spelled "pictogramme") or pictograph is a symbol representing a concept, object, activity, place or event by illustration."

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